Italian firm Galbusera, which bakes a variety of biscuits from the classic Italian morning Frollini to health-related products such as high fibre and gluten-free biscuits, wants the new oven so it can mass-produce 'home-baked' food.
Company president Mario Galbusera said: "We pride ourselves on the home-baked quality of our biscuits, but we exist in a cost-conscious, mass-production world. In order to reconcile our traditional values with economies of scale and so maintain our competitive edge we must employ the latest baking technologies."
Slowing growth in the Italian biscuit market over the last three years has made for a much more competitive climate. The annual growth rate went from 3.6 per cent in 2001 to 3 per cent in 2002 and 1.9 per cent at the start of 2004; giving the market a value of €1.85 billion. Galbusera currently has between a 3 per cent and 5 per cent share of the market and its new selection of 'healthy' biscuits may help to give the company an edge. Health, as in other western European countries, was recently identified as a strongly emerging trend on the Italian biscuit and snack sector by market researchers, Leatherhead Food International.
The 100-metre long oven from Spooner Vicars, which will produce both moulded and deposited soft biscuits, has been customised to create the golden-brown colouring and texture of home baking by using both indirect gas fire radiant and forced convection zones.
The oven's modular units can radiate heat along the oven, above and below the baking band, or forced convective heat by employing a unique system of high-volume, low-velocity air flow and radiation dampers to precisely control the amount of heat reaching the product.
Spooner Vicars' use of modular units also turns its oven system into a sort of giant Lego construction whereby the number of heat zones that can be added on to the end is almost limitless - helping the company to fit specifications more exactly.
Galbusera already uses an almost identical system from Spooner Vicars, alongside a host of other equipment including high-speed mixers and laminated and rotary moulded biscuit lines.
"We value Spooner Vicars' engineering expertise and knowledge, and their oven system supplied two years ago more than satisfied our high expectations. It is the best oven we have ever had," said president Galbusera.